The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired a meeting to review various activities being undertaken by the Tourism Department to highlight and promote new tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Principal Secretary, Public Works (R&B) Department, Administrative Secretary, Tourism Department along with MD, JKTDC, Directors Tourism Jammu and Kashmir, Director, Culture Department, and concerned officers of the Department participated in the meeting.
It was informed that the tourism in Jammu and Kashmir has crossed the mark of highest tourist footfall in November when 1,27,605 tourists visited the Union territory in a single month. Moreover, to attract local and foreign tourists to the UT, the Tourism Department is organizing various roadshows across major cities of the country and raising awareness on the tourism-related events, activities, and destinations in Jammu and Kashmir. These cities include Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, and Lucknow.
It was further informed that as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mohatsav, the Department organized an iconic week celebration in the last week of October 2021, which included performances on Hafiz Nagma, Kalam-e-Khusroo, Kalam-e-Baba Fareed, Qawwali, Baul Sufi folk, Darvish Sufi dance, and Haziri Kathak, besides literary seminar on Sufism and exhibition of local arts, calligraphy, Sufi traditions, and houseboat festival.
To celebrate 75 years of Independence, the Department is organizing 75 tourism festivals to promote 75 off-beat destinations. These destinations will be developed with proper infrastructure and requisite facilities to tap their tourism potential in collaboration with locals, youth clubs, and Panchayati Raj Institutions. The festivals organized so far are- Gurez festival, Monsoon festival, Patnitop & Kashmir, Lolab festival, Wular festival, Aharbal festival, Tosamaidan festival, and Verinag festival.
The Chief Secretary asked the Tourism Department to promote 75 new tourist places by developing comprehensive facilities in an integrated manner having adequate provisions of recreational activities, eateries, and restrooms.
Dr. Mehta asked the Department to preserve, restore, and promote the cultural and architectural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir. He advised the Department to raise awareness about these places by organizing dedicated travel, trekking-expeditions, mountain bike adventures, and stays around the identified sites. He advised the Department to promote tourism cooperatives for comprehensive tourism development through collective efforts of locals, youth, PRIs through Department-sponsored training, capacity-building, and handholding.
In the winter months, the Department will further organize the Jammu festival, white water rafting championship, Christmas carnival, Winter Carnival, Gulmarg snow festival, Lohri festival, Mata Vaishno Devi Sangeet Sammelan, and several others, as a part of its calendar of activities under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
The Department celebrated International Mountain Day on 11th December under the theme ‘Sustainable Mountain Tourism’ through several activities including a painting competition and exhibition, wall climbing event at Nowgam, Mountain biking expedition, and inauguration of Paragliding season.
The Chief Secretary asked the Department to actively promote wall and rock climbing sport throughout the Union territory, as there exists a huge potential on this account. He impressed upon the Department to strive for observing the most vibrant winter season this year with a special focus on the local and domestic tourists, now that the National Highway to the Kashmir valley has been upgraded
To promote rural tourism, it was informed that specific activities will be organized along the identified rural circuits across Jammu and Kashmir, including Hokersar-Parihaspora-Gohan in Gulmarg, Waderbala, Nowgam Mawar- Lolab in Kupwara, Chari-Sharief-Doodhpathri-Yousmarg in Budgam Saderkoot Payeen- Watlab in Bandipora and, Bani- Basohli-Sarthal and Billawar Duggan in Kathua, among others.
Jammu: Exodus Day Observed as Black Day
Due to the increasing influence of terrorism, the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits started on this day in 1990. Kashmiri Pandits celebrated this day of expulsion as Black Day.
On Wednesday, Kashmiri displaced Pandits protested by taking out a rally in Jagti. These Kashmiri Pandits said that this dark day is remembered by every Kashmiri Pandit who was forced to leave the Valley. It is the job of the Government of India to conduct an inquiry by setting up a commission, and those who had spoiled the situation in Kashmir should be fed the air of jails. Kashmiri Pandits demonstrated fiercely and on the other hand, demanded that the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley be ensured.
For the last 32 years, Kashmiri Pandits have been cut off from their own land. Addressing the occasion, Jagti Tenement Committee President Shadi Lal Pandita said that these Kashmiri Pandits had to leave their homes due to terrorism in the Valley, but today this Kashmiri Pandit wants to connect with their soil and establish three big satellite colonies in Kashmir. If the government does this, then 70 thousand Kashmiri Pandit families will go back to the Valley and join their soil. But now, the central government is not taking any step in this direction. Therefore, Kashmiri Pandits should be told the plan with the central government to return to the Valley.
On the other hand, Raj Kumar Tikku said that January 19 would not be forgotten by Kashmiri Pandits. When the situation in Kashmir turned completely against the Kashmiri Pandits and announcements were made on loudspeakers to leave the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits were forced to migrate for their safety and their families. Many Kashmiri Pandits also lost their lives. The Central Government should now constitute an inquiry committee to bring the real culprits to the jails.
Mystery of Lucknow family allegedly missing in J&K solved
The startling revelation came to light on Wednesday about the Lucknow family allegedly missing during their travel to Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier reports had said that three members of a family from Lucknow — Mehmood Ali Khan, his wife Darakshan and their son, Shavez — had gone missing in Ramban district while they were on their way from Jammu to Srinagar.
Police sources said according to Salim Khan, brother-in-law of Mehmood Ali Khan, all 3 members were murdered by elder son, Sarfaraz Khan on January 5, the day they were leaving towards Jammu by train.
“After disposing of their dead bodies, he meticulously planned to mislead the relatives and police. He clandestinely visited Jammu and Kashmir and messaged via WhatsApp from his father’s mobile phone on 14th January morning in which he posed as his younger brother, Shavez and said that they are stuck on the highway due to landslides.
“He even posted some pictures of the highway,” said the sources.
The details of the case came to light when the J&K police traced the phone in Lucknow that was used to send WhatsApp messages.
Police said Sarfraz had murdered his father, mother and brother in Lucknow itself. On January 6 the body of a youth with a slit throat was found on Lucknow’s Mall Road in the Itaunja area.
Police were unable to identify the body. After this, two more bodies with slit throats were found in the Malihabad area in Lucknow.
After the photographs of the three persons allegedly missing in J&K’s Ramban area were published, police in Lucknow were able to identify all three.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the eldest son of the family, Sarfraz had murdered them. Sarfraz has been taken into custody.
Police said other contacts of Sarfraz are also being questioned. The motive of the gruesome crime is still not known.
Car theft at SMGS Hospital, thief arrested
Car theft has been reported from SMGS Hospital, Jammu. The car model identified as Chevrolet Tavera was stolen outside the hospital premises.
As per the details, the car owner is a resident of Doda who had come to visit his ailing relatives admitted to the hospital.
When the possessor of the car couldn’t find his vehicle in the parking, he timely complained about the theft in the police station.
During the investigation, a team of Police led by SHO city inspector, Vijay Kumar under the supervision of SDPO DySP Sharad Kallu, raided at different places to search the accused and eventually succeeded in arresting him.
Police have also recovered the stolen Tavera from his possession. As per the police sources, the accused is a resident of RS Poora, Jammu and has been notorious for such thefts in the past.
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